Decision Fatigue - Having default choices can help you stop making bad choices
There is something that I noticed during the London Covid-19 Lockdowns - I was stuck at home and I was getting constantly tired and drained at the end of each day. It seemed like I had more time since we were not going anywhere but that time seemed to disappear and midnight came with alarming speed every day.
After a while, I had to take a moment to think about why I was getting so tired. My brain seemed to be struggling with the new status quo and the break in my previous routine. Adapting to a new routine and having to make a different set of mental choices was the root cause of my brain drain.
'What to have for lunch?'
'When to stop working?'
'What to wear to my living room?'
'What to do for exercise?'
'What to watch on Netflix?'
The problem with making a lot of decisions is sometimes you just have too many options. I mean we often want more options, surely that can't be a bad thing, right? Unfortunately, the more options we have and the more often we have to make decisions the higher the chances that we will make bad ones... So 'more choices often lead to bad decisions' - wow. Yes, its a thing called Decision Fatigue...
Simply put, decision fatigue is the deterioration of our ability to make good decisions after a long session of decision making.
In other words, the more decisions you need to make, the worse you're going to be at weighing all the options and making an educated, research-backed choice. Which meant I ate lots of junk food, blew my budget with Amazon and online shopping and sometimes felt like I had the world's longest To-do list...I went to bed exhausted.
In the morning I would always start off with great intentions but by Noon my will power would drop and come 7 pm I couldn't decide between Still and Sparkling water without having a panic attack.
So I realised I had to take control of my thoughts spiralling out of control. I decided to have default choices for as many things as possible to reduce Decision Fatigue. Here are some of them -
I woke up and went to bed at the same time every day. This removed the need to think about staying up late or even sleeping in. It also helped with my insomnia as I fell asleep quicker over time.
I only shopped on Amazon during the day. I set my phone to disable amazon and any shopping apps from 7 pm. that way I didn't make random purchases when my will power was lower later in the evening.
I planned outfits the night before to avoid looking like a slob wearing leggings and a t-shirt to work while I was at home. I went through the same routine of getting ready as if I was going to the office.
I pre-ordered lunch on Sundays. I set up a Hello Fresh Subscription which delivered prepacked Lunch ingredients, so I always knew what I wanted to have for lunch because it was on a recipe card and it told me exactly how long it was going to take. Click here for £20 off your first box*!
My nails are always red. I always get the same colour and it helps to plan outfit and shop because I dont have to think about it.
Although I still find myself making some poor choices when I am tired or stressed, being aware of the problem has really helped me relax a little. I try to automate my life as much as possible with as many default choices as I can find to match my lifestyle.
Maybe you want to give 'Default Choices' a go?
* p.s (I also get £20 Hello Fresh credit when you use the link so we both win haha)